HMRC to Level New Powers at Offshore Tax Evasion

tax evasionAs the government continues to target those holding undeclared, taxable funds in overseas accounts, HMRC are set to get new powers for pursuing offshore tax evaders. While HMRC must currently prove that the offender intended to evade tax before bringing any prosecution against them, it will now be possible to charge them with a criminal offence whether or not the offence was intentional.

A number of recent information-sharing deals with former “safe havens” have been hailed as big steps forward in targeting overseas tax evasion, but these have failed to deliver the sums expected. It is hoped that HMRC’s expanded powers will help to further the pursuit of funds held overseas.

Some have expressed concern over the fact that people who never intended to break the law could potentially face prison sentences. However, it is widely believed the threat of prosecution is intended more as a deterrent, encouraging those with undeclared funds held abroad to come forward before they are caught out.